Monthly Archives: July 2015

Hannah, 35: Woke Up Every Morning Feeling Sad and Didn’t Want to Face the Day

Problems That Hannah Brought to Therapy:

When Hannah came to see me, she had been suffering with anxiety and depression for years.

Even though her symptoms were severe, for the most part, she kept them hidden from her friends and family. She hadn’t told anyone how much she suffered. In fact, most people thought of her as being very accomplished, competent and fulfilled.

The truth was, as Hannah revealed to me in our first counselling session; she had been struggling for over 5 years. She first started sliding downhill after she had lost a child during birth.

Hannah reported that she felt like she was just “going through the motions” in her life. She felt like a zombie much of the time.

The Outcome of Hannah’s Therapy

We worked with the places where Hannah’s body was still reacting to the trauma of losing her baby. The tension in her body was so great that she constantly suffered from headaches, as well as shoulder and back pain.

After several months of therapy, Hannah had released a lot of the pent up grief in her body. She was much more relaxed. She said she felt like the weight had been lifted off of her.

She felt happier and more engaged in her life. She no longer felt like she was on the outside of her life looking in.

Hannah also told some of her close friends and family members how she had been suffering, and they were very supportive. She vowed to reach out to them more when she was feeling sad in the future in order to get the support she needed.

Hannah still felt some sadness when she thought of her baby. The difference was that she could now feel her sadness and still move forward with her life.

* The above stories are composites of several clients I have worked with over the years. Identifying details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Jacob, 21: Suffered from Social Anxiety and Depression

Problems That Jacob Brought to Therapy:

Carolyn, Jacob’s mother, referred Jacob to me for counselling because she was worried about him. Jacob was in his 3rd year of university and had a lot of anxiety. He was also depressed. When he wasn’t studying, he spent most of his days in his room playing video games.

Jacob appeared quiet and withdrawn in our first therapy sessions. However, he eventually shared a secret that he had been holding onto for a long time:

Jacob was afraid to talk to people in his classes in fear that they would judge him. He, therefore, avoided all social contact with his peers at university.

He explained how he would freeze when around people. He was unable to speak and felt like he was going to vomit.

The Outcome of Jacob’s Therapy

Over the course of counselling, I helped Jacob become more comfortable being with others in social situations.

Therapy helped improve his feelings of self-worth. In addition, through the use of Reichian Therapy techniques including breathing exercises, body awareness and movement explorations, he was able to bring his social anxiety to more manageable levels.

By the end of our therapy sessions, Jacob had attended several social situations where he initiated conversations with people. He was able to manage his anxiety to such an extent that he enjoyed himself during these occasions.

Counselling also helped Jacob’s depression subside. He was now much more engaged in his life.

Sherri, 43: Anxious and Overwhelmed With Life

Problems that Sherri Brought to Therapy:

When Sherri came to see me for therapy, her anxiety had a very tight grip on her. Her high-stress job working for a financial investment company demanded a lot from her.

She often had to work late. As a result, she barely saw her 2 children. Sherri’s husband was also stressed due to doing all the child-care. This caused Sherri to feel even more pressure.

Sherri had always been a nervous person who worried a lot, but now her anxiety was running the show. She slept little, often having panic attacks during the night fearing she wouldn’t meet her deadlines at work. If she wasn’t worrying about work, Sherri was plagued with guilt for being a “terrible mother”.

The Outcome of Sherri’s Therapy:

Over the course of therapy, I helped Sherri gain more awareness of when her anxiety was triggered and how she experienced it in her body and in her emotions. We focused on healing her unhealthy patterns of coping that were developed early in her life.

Sherri had deep emotions that she had long been suppressing which were at the root of her anxiety. As Sherri was able to express some of these emotions, she started feeling calmer.

Counselling also helped Sherri free up energy to make changes in her work situation so that she could be home more with her children. Once she negotiated her workload with her boss at work, everything started to feel more manageable.

By the time we completed our counselling together, Sherri’s anxiety was dramatically reduced. If she did start to worry, she was able to be aware of what she was feeling emotionally and physically. This allowed her to use the tools she learned in therapy to help calm her so that her fears did not take over.

Sherri was now in the driver’s seat of her life.

What You Can Expect from Therapy

As your therapist, I provide a safe place for you to share your problems.

You begin by telling me your story and describing what you want from therapy. I will ask you some questions about the history of the problems you are experiencing.

I will listen to both your words and what your body seems to be saying (e.g. how you are moving and breathing as you speak). This way I can come to fully understand you and know how to guide our work together.

Your role is to be as open and honest as you can about your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. If this feels difficult at first, it will become easier as our relationship grows. You only have to reveal what you feel comfortable revealing.

Being open about yourself may be part of the challenge you are facing in your life, and if so, we will work on making it more comfortable for you.

My Counselling Style is Collaborative, Empathic and Patient

The quality of the relationship between therapist and client has been shown to be the most important factor in healing. I will, therefore, do my best to ensure you are satisfied with our therapeutic relationship.

I will tailor therapy to fit you and your needs. This means that sometimes I will take a gentle role, and other times, a more directive role. I will ask for your feedback about what is helpful for you.

We’ll explore how our relationship reflects your relationship with others in the world.

For example, if you feel insecure in some of your relationships, we may explore if, and how, these feelings exist in your relationship with me. Dealing with them in the “here and now” makes them much easier to work with and resolve.

I help you increase your confidence and capacity to manage feelings or experiences that are uncomfortable for you.

It may seem hard to believe, but sometimes you can “shift” your experience by simply “being with” the difficult emotions and experiences as fully as possible. When it comes to anxiety and depression, often what thwarts your ability to change is that you run into discomfort. We can pace your therapy to deal with discomfort and find comfort with what used to be uncomfortable.

Sometimes results happen very quickly in therapy. At other times, one must be patient while making continuous progress.

Regardless of how long it takes to alleviate your suffering, I assure you that I will be patient and committed. Together, we will look at whatever it takes to help you feel better.

If you resonate with how I work and want to find out more about how I can help, book a free 30-minute consultation with me in my therapy office in Vancouver, or by phone.

How Reichian Therapy Helps You Heal

Reichian therapy is a profound healing modality that helps you heal from depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. It is a body-mind approach that includes working with your body, thoughts, feelings and actions.

Working with your body and emotions can enhance the gains you make in therapy. Sometimes you can understand your situation and know what you want to change, but still get stuck and have difficulty making the changes.

This can happen because patterns of feeling, thinking and acting are “held” within your body. When we work with your body, breath and emotions in therapy, it allows us to get at the experience underlying your anxiety and depression, and brings you deeper relief.

Overall, Reichian therapy teaches you how to regulate your nervous system so that you feel better.

My therapy approach is customized to your unique needs and goals.

There are a variety of ways I may work with you within the Reichian framework. It depends on who you are and how you are struggling right now. Sometimes we may simply talk. At other times, we may work more with body sensations and breathing.

Other Therapies I May Use

There are several other therapies I may use in our counselling work together.

These types of therapy include: Bioenergetic therapy, Interpersonal, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Relational Somatic Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, or The Gottman Method of Couples therapy (when working with couples or addressing relationship issues).

You don’t have to know what all these methods are. You should just know that they have all been shown to be highly effective treatments for anxiety and depression.

Rechian Therapy for Anxiety & Depression

The Root Cause of Anxiety and Depression

Most of our deepest wounds happen in our relationships with others.

The good news is: healing also often happens within our relationships.

Although therapists have known how psychological wounds occur for a long time, the field of neuroscience now confirms this understanding. This new ‘brain science’ shows how wounds that occurred during childhood wire our brains and how therapy can help heal or “re-wire” them.

Unfortunately, even when one has had loving parents, childhood can leave wounds that can cause problems in later life.

Behaviors, emotions and thoughts that are the result of difficult early experiences serve to protect us when we are children. However, in later life these ways of coping often work against us.

To heal anxiety and depression, often we need to heal our early experiences. Once these wounds are healed, most anxiety and depression symptoms are resolved.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to re-hash the past or even talk much about it.

It just means that the work you do with me in therapy aims to heal the root cause of your problems. This way we can work towards lasting change, instead of simply managing your symptoms.

Anxiety and Depression are Often the Result of How We Learned to ‘Block’ Our Emotions Early in Life as a Method of Coping

In counselling, we will work to help you connect with the emotions and experiences underlying anxiety and depression. We can work with how you hold these emotions in your body and help you to become more relaxed and freer to express your true self.

My Passions & Interests

When I’m not providing therapy to my clients, I enjoy spending quality time with my husband. I also find pleasure in the outdoors, hiking, dancing and walking.

My ongoing goal is to continue to deepen my capacity to live with presence and to express myself authentically.

If you think we would be a good fit for working together contact me for a free 30-minute consultation in my Vancouver office or by phone.